Wrecks

Wrecks

If you are in the Purton area, keep an eye on the Severn estuary when the tide is out. At it’s lowest, you’ll see what at first looks like one wreck, but is actually two, over 50 years old. On 25th October 1960, two tanker barges, Arkendale H and Wastdale H, collided in thick fog as they attempted to find the entrance to the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal. As the two captains tried to steer their barges away from one another, little did they realise that their efforts were in vain because one of the crew had tied the bows of the two barges together just after the collision. Doomed almost from that moment, they drifted upstream before hitting one of the supports of the Severn and Wye Valley Railway bridge, bringing down one of the supports and two spans, before catching fire. Five crew men died that day, and the barges were never recovered. They lie on a sandbar in the middle of the Severn, only visible at low tide. The railway bridge was never repaired, and was demolished ten years later.

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